Home Canada These seniors face a 20% rent increase — and Ontario rules make it legal

These seniors face a 20% rent increase — and Ontario rules make it legal

by News Desk
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Kim Tanashchuk watches her daughter help pack her belongings in her one-bedroom apartment in Russell, Ontario.

Tanashchuk said he moved to a nursing home in August 2021 but needed to move out because he could no longer afford to pay the rent.

Rent increases are normal and expected, but generally subject to rent management guidelines. The landlord is allowed to raise his rent by 2.5% in 2023, a limit set by Ontario.

But Tanashchuk and other tenants were shocked when they received notice earlier this year that their expected monthly payments would jump by as much as 25% in some cases, explaining that it was perfectly legal. I was even more upset when I found out.

Changes introduced by states in 2018 New rental units first occupied after November 15th of that year were exempt from rental control.

“This will help create market-based incentives for supply growth that will drive increased housing supply to meet the needs of the people of Ontario,” reads the Progressive Conservative Party’s 2018 Accounts Update.

Tennant calls it ‘greedy’ and ‘blackmail’

“I am just outraged,” said Tanashchuk, who was asked to increase his monthly rent by $100 from last December.

“I think it’s greedy. I think it’s usury. I think it’s blackmail.”

When she moved into the building, Tanashchuk, unaware of the rule change, said she had no choice but to leave now.

“We all grew up with rent control. We had no idea it didn’t exist,” she said.

Tenant Cindy McMurray is also considering moving because her rent has increased by more than $200 a month. (Jean Delisle/CBC)

Tanaszczuk still considers herself one of the lucky ones and has already found another more affordable home to move into. .

“I wanted to throw up. I cried for a week,” she said. “I was frozen trying to figure out how to move forward. What should I do? Where should I go?”

Both Tanashchuk and McMurray are unable to work and have fixed incomes as they are elderly.

Another tenant, who the CBC has agreed not to name, is also facing a rent increase of more than $200 for fear of repercussions from his landlord.

“I hate it. I absolutely hate it,” she said.

The tenant plans to pay a security deposit and move out of another apartment under construction, but it won’t be ready until next summer.

Watch | Seniors Say They Can’t Afford Rent Increases:

Elderly building occupants say they can’t raise rents

The Kim Tanaszczuk and Cindy McMurray buildings are exempt from rent control guidelines. Tanashchuk, whose rent will increase by $100, called the increase “blackmail.”

Landlords partially point to inflation

These women were not informed that their units were exempt from rent control guidelines. All three said they moved into buildings built after the 2018 rule change. It was advertised as affordable housing for seniors, with some units advertised as low as $997.

However, in July of this year, residents were informed that the building had been sold to Hartsford Properties and received notice of a rent increase just weeks later.

Hartsford Properties, the company that owns the apartment building, issued the letter to its tenants months ago. It said the rise in rents was due to “inflation, rising costs and average market rents” in the region. (Jean Delisle/CBC)

The CBC did not receive a response from company officials in time for issuance, but in its initial letter to Tennant, Hartsford said it was aware of the larger-than-expected increase and said, “This change We have provided notice well in advance to ensure adequate time to prepare for.”

He cited “inflation, rising costs and average market rents” in the region as factors for the rise, adding that “new monthly rents will still be well below current market rents.”

The letter asks those who wish to terminate their lease to give the company 60 days’ notice.

Exemptions ‘are paying off,’ state says

Tennant said it has reached out to state governments, federal and state politicians, but has not received a response.

The CBC also requested interviews with officials from the Department of City Affairs and Housing. I sent a statement instead.

“This is paying off for Ontarians,” said Konrad Spezowka, a spokesperson for the exemption.

In November 2018, Ontario’s Finance Minister Vic Federi released the government’s fall economic statement in Toronto. (Nathan Dennett/Canadian Press)

He wrote that the state reached a 30-year record for new rental housing construction last year, although the exact amount was not specified.

Rental management guidelines still apply to about 1.4 million rental households in the state, the statement said.

Check Before You Sign a Lease, Lawyers Say

Dania Majid, an attorney with the Ontario Tenant Advocacy Center (ACTO), said tenants find themselves in a similar situation when new apartments are built.

“We were consulted last week about a case where a tenant received a $1,000 monthly rent increase,” Majid said.

These rent increases are creating more “financial evictions,” she said. As such, ACTO has been advocating for the government to withdraw the exemption, but has made no commitments.

Majid said there is little else tenants of new units can do to prevent this from happening. I recommended it to

“These loopholes were created by this government,” she said.

The tenants CBC spoke to did not say they were informed of the lack of rent control before moving into the apartment at 480 Church Street in Russell, Ontario. (Jean Delisle/CBC)

Cut costs or move

McMurray is now trying to cut costs wherever she can, canceling services and walking places to save money on gas. Still, it’s unclear how long she can manage. The situation has also severely affected her mental health.

“All my health issues are raging. It’s hard to sleep. You avoid people just because they’re not in a very good place,” McMurray said.

Tanaszczuk said she’ll miss the community she’s found in her neighborhood, but she has no choice but to leave.

“I think everyone, including me, thought this would be the last place when we moved in,” she said. “Now everyone must see.”

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